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The Colorful World of Latino Folktales

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La Llorona: The Weeping Woman

Hayes, Joe.  1987.  La Llorona: The weeping woman.  El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press.

Summary:  The ghost woman is crying and crying for her children. Some people say she cries along the river, while others think they’ve heard her in the desert, or down an alley right near their house. But almost everyone agrees that La Llorona is not a lady you want to meet late at night, when you’re out past your bedtime.
Type:  Realistic - because it could have happened.
Characters:  The main character is Maria, who eventually is called La Llorona, the weeping woman.  She is very arrogant and proud, even though she was of a lower class.  Her personality continues even as an adult.  She finally marries someone that she thinks is good enough for her, and he is wealthy.   
Setting:  The only reference to when this story occured was when the author states, "This is a story that the old ones have been telling to children for hundreds of years" (Hayes p.1).  It never states where it occurs, just in a small village. 
Plot:  This is one of the most well-known hispanic folktales.  A woman who knew she was beautiful married a wealthy rancher who did not pay her any attention, only their children.  One day he shows up with another woman and in a rage, Maria throws her children into the river where they drowned.  She realized her mistake and ran up and down the river bank looking for them.  She died on the river bank and from then on in the evenings, the villagers say they hear and see a woman all dressed in white crying "Where are my children?" (Hayes no page #)
Theme:  Such a strong emotion like grief never truly leaves a person even after death; or the death of a child could be the emotional death of the mother.
Rating: 4 out of 5
I really enjoyed the story because it was so heart wrenching!  The love from a mother for her children never dies, even in the after-life!  The illustrations were very touching and full of emotion.  The expressions on the character's face make the story come more alive.

Additional Feature:


Here are some quotes from my students:
"I like it because it is a scary mystery."
"It has a lot of details to understand the story."
"It was kind of spooky and weird."
"This was a sad, but interesting story."
"Lots of depth in the story."
"Very emotional."
"I like it because it sounds like it might have happened."

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